A tribute to late photographer Irving Penn goes on show in Beirut

A tribute to late photographer Irving Penn goes on show in Beirut
‘Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn)’ by Irving Penn. (Condé Nast)
Updated 13 February 2019

A tribute to late photographer Irving Penn goes on show in Beirut

A tribute to late photographer Irving Penn goes on show in Beirut

DUBAI: The Beirut-based Mina Image Center is hosting a showcase of works by late American fashion photographer Irving Penn, marking the first time the iconic artist’s snaps have been show in the region.
Set to run until April 28, after it kicked off on Jan. 16, the exhibition focuses on ­­ Irving Penn (1917-2009), who is recognized for his high fashion images and for his portraits of the artists, writers and celebrities who defined the 20th century.
The exhibition in Beirut is titled “Untroubled” and draws inspiration from an exhibition organized by the Pinault Collection in 2014 at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
The exhibition explores Penn’s technical and artistic commands — a set of self-devised rules he is famous for scrupulously sticking to in order to create almost flawless images.
Photos showcased in the exhibition hail from four decades of Penn’s repertoire, but rather than arrange them chronologically, the curators in Beirut chose to loosely arrange them by subject matter.
Trained as a painter, with photography as a side hobby, Penn studied commercial art and was hired in 1943 as assistant to Alexander Liberman, art director of Vogue magazine. The photographer soon established himself as the most innovative professional in the field and went on to produce his own distinctive style.
His photographs often feature simple backdrops of paper or canvas and tend to focus on the subject — be it a celebrity or a cigarette butt — with an almost scientific, unflinching glare.
“The image is decontextualized, intense and demanding of attention,” the Mina Image Center notes on its website.
Penn was known to experiment with printing techniques and investigated innovative ways to produce photographs throughout the 1960s, including platinum-palladium printing.
Practiced in the early 20th century, the platinum process created an image that is virtually unlimited in its tonal variation. The aesthetic possibilities of the platinum printing process inspired Penn to revisit earlier work and re-print images in a range of styles. The constant reworking of his photographs formed the basis of Penn’s creative approach, according to the Mina Image Center.
The Mina Image Center is a non-profit organization that aims to showcase photography and artworks from the region and around the world in its space in Beirut.


COVID-19 kills men’s fashion buzz in Milan

COVID-19 kills men’s fashion buzz in Milan
Updated 15 January 2021

COVID-19 kills men’s fashion buzz in Milan

COVID-19 kills men’s fashion buzz in Milan

MILAN: A year after the last COVID-free catwalk shows in Milan, men’s fashion week begins on Friday, but without the buzz of its traditional audience of buyers, bloggers, celebrities and media.

As the pandemic continues to upend Italy’s crucial luxury sector nearly 12 months after it first swept through the country, fashion houses have turned to technology to showcase their fall/winter 2021-22 collections.

Shows will be broadcast live on the fashion houses’ own websites or be replaced with pre-recorded presentations, short films and other artistic projects. Others such as Dolce & Gabbana have withdrawn entirely.

The four-day men’s fashion event takes place with infections rising in Italy’s Lombardy region with a return a full lockdown possible as early as the weekend.

Lombardy, whose capital is Milan, is one of five in Italy classified “orange” by the government, which means that stores and most schools are closed, while a curfew remains in force at night.

Among those opting for live shows to be broadcast by the fashion houses are Fendi, Etro and Kway.

Most other brands, however, including Ermenegildo Zegna, Tod’s, Prada and Church’s, have opted for pre-records – choices that allow for creative freedom but lack the immediacy and drama of live shows.

Dolce & Gabbana, which was originally scheduled to offer a traditional runway show on January 16, announced on Monday its decision to pull out entirely.

In view of COVID-19, it said, “the conditions essential to the realisation of our fashion show are not met.”

For the moment, no digital presentation is planned.